Each year the National Park Traveller’s Club gives an award to an exceptional Ranger who goes beyond the call of their profession and performs with excellence. The National Park Traveller’s Club is an organization that helps American travellers enjoy the nation’s parks, and rewards the rangers who help make that happen.
The Flat Hat award is named after the iconic wide brimmed hats that Park Rangers are known to wear while at work. Barney Schoby Jr., Park Ranger in Melrose and recipient of the Flat Hat Award for 2015, is known for being exceptionally knowledgeable as a guide in Natchez National Historical Park.
He was nominated because a member of the NPTC was on a tour Schoby led, and was impressed with his performance. “We give this award when somebody stands out, when they go out of their way to be informative,” the award form says. Schoby was recognized for doing just that.
Those who have had Schoby as a tour guide said that if Ranger Schoby did not know a piece of information or an answer to a question, they could be sure he would know that information by the next tour. This kind of dedication is the reason that he was nominated in the same year he began working as a park ranger.
Typically award recipients are seasoned veterans with years of service under their belt, but that is a testament to Schoby’s excellence. 2014s Flat Hat Award winner was Reggie Murray, an 18 year Park Ranger Veteran. Murray was known not only for providing excellent informational help at the 401st National Park Service site, a civil war memorial.
Murray was also known for performing an exceptional impression of a soldier in a living memorial of the Civil War regiment that was originally stationed there. Park rangers like this are typical recipients of the award, which highlights Schoby’s excellence.